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Five Torches Deep
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Five Torches Deep

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Basics

  • 5e + OSR
  • Layout designed for utility
  • Streamlined gameplay
  • Highly compatible

Five Torches Deep (FTD) is a streamlined adventure game combining the best mechanics and principles of 5e, the OSR, and modern game design. The core of the game is familiar to anyone who has played 5e or previous editions of the game, but every mechanic has been pared down, modified, or expanded upon to create a coherently gritty, resource-focused, roguelike, old-school experience. 

The game’s about tough choices, risk vs reward, and using as much out of character smarts as in-character mechanics. It’s just about everything we (Ben and Jess) have come to expect from an OSR adventure game: brutal, challenging, streamlined, and accessible. 

How is it different?

  • 5e skeleton, OSR meat
  • Succinct but complete
  • Modern layout for ease of reference

FTD is a blend of old and new, digital and tabletop. It loots the corpses of four decades of gaming in just 48 packed pages. It’s able to comprehensively recreate an authentic OSR experience while bringing plenty of new subsystems to the table. Heavier than Knave or Into the Odd, more concrete than the Black Hack, less epic than 5e, more familiar than the Whitehack, and less “edgy” than other dungeoncrawlers. It hits the sweet spot between post-clone ultra-light rules and burdensome mechanics. 

Mechanics

  • Familiar but fresh
  • Comprehensive adventure play
  • Favors cleverness over crunch 

FTD strips 5e down to its skeleton and fleshes it out with mechanics focused on resource management, clever problem solving, and streamlined OSR gameplay. Combat is a last resort, magic is dangerous and wild, and every ability matters.

Character Creationthere’s only four classic races, each with a distinct method for generating ability scores and class restrictions. 

Character Classes: warrior, thief, mage, or zealot. Classes follow the design structure of 5e (scaling proficiency bonus, class features at set levels, etc) with more specialized “archetypes” unlockable at level 3. These archetypes bring in classics like the Barbarian, Warlock, and Druid without completely reconfiguring the class itself. And with only four starting classes, it’s easy to roll up a random character at level 1.

Level 9 Cap: PC play beyond level 9 is a different type of game. FTD focuses on dungeons and adventure, not domains, strongholds, and cataclysms. This makes a tighter gameplay loop: delve into dungeons, fight monsters, learn spells, acquire loot, repeat.

Ability Scores: the classic six abilities return, but special attention has been paid to ensure that ability scores and modifiers have a mechanical impact. Your STR score defines how much Load you can carry; your CON how many hours you can go without rest; your CHA the number of retainers you can command, and so forth. 

Default DC: the assumption is that (almost) all tasks and checks are DC 11. This expedites gameplay and helps make it more predictable and transparent for the players. 

Advantage / Disadvantage: easily the most elegant bit of tech from 5e (and the games that they took it from). Enough said. 

Inventory and Resource Management: a system to track carried load and supplies. Should you bring heavy weapons and armor or leave enough room to abscond with more loot? Equipment can be used, damaged, foraged, crafted, and repaired. The system adheres to quick but logical gameplay (no dice, no bean counting, but very light abstraction).

Retainers and Hench: in proper old-school style, PCs are expected to travel with a retinue of retainers and loyal followers, called “hench.” There’re rules for specific types of retainers and the commands you can give them in battle.

Wilderness Travel: distances traveled and resources consumed depending on terrain, light, and weather. The interplay between Travel Turns, supply, and resilience makes for difficult choices. 

Travel Turns: a simple system in which the GM regularly rolls on a table every hour in a dungeon or day in the wilderness. Travel Turns create a cyclical ritual: mark spent torches, reduce supply, note hours traveled (make a Resilience check as necessary), and track if monsters spring an ambush or stumble into the party.

Volatile Spellcasting: all spells can be cast quickly - demanding a spellcasting check with potentially calamitous results - or over the course of hours, which necessitates no such check. Casters then must decide if they are willing to risk wandering monsters or a potentially high DC that could result in loss of limb or sight.

Rest and Healing: rests have been broken into “safe” and “unsafe,” which have different mechanical effects on healing and exhaustion. There are few quick ways to restore HP, encouraging the need for consumables and cautious rest. High-level characters need days to rest sufficiently and heal back to full.  

Debilitating Injuries: any time a PC is reduced to 0 HP, they will die unless an ally resuscitates them. After being stabilized, the incapacitated adventurer must roll on an injury table; many of which have consequences that result in permanent Ability Score damage or loss of limb. Parties beyond level 1 usually comprise of mangled adventurers that bear the scars of their past mistakes. 

Monster Generation: Quick monster generation: refer to monster category, HD, add any relevant techniques, and done! Techniques and tactics allow for enormous flexibility in only a few pages. FTD makes monster creation or conversion a cinch, and can be done on the fly. 

Tools and Principles: guidelines on how to get into the mindset for OSR play, an adventure framework, and even generators for charged situations and dungeon layouts (including a novel technique leveraging a classic six-color puzzle cube). 


 
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (7)
Discussions (29)
Customer avatar
Ian M December 09, 2019 12:13 am UTC
PURCHASER
Got a chance to play test game yesterday. Really like the streamlined character Gen. Makes for a great way to sit down and play one shots.
Customer avatar
Ian M December 09, 2019 12:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Fat fingers....

I wanted to ask about the overland travel rule. How does that work with the resilience rule?

Can a character march up to 10 + STR mod before having to spend resilience?

I can’t quite work out how to reconcile overland travel, speed and resilience.

Thanks.
Customer avatar
Ben D December 09, 2019 1:52 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hey Ian, glad you had fun. They all occur simultaneously and set their own limits. If a character had only a 6 CON they can’t travel for 14 hours (STR). In other words, each is true simultaneously and your character is limited by whatever their lowest stat is.
Customer avatar
Ian M December 09, 2019 5:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
thanks for the reply,

That made me realise I was not paying attention to speed.
Customer avatar
Chad K December 02, 2019 1:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
Buy this game. 5 Torches ( 5T ) does for 5E what B/X did for AD&D. Great game.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H November 30, 2019 6:08 am UTC
Some seriously cool stuff happening in this. I think you guys moved the OSR/O5R torch forward significantly with this product.
The flip-through vid sparked a lot of ideas for me.
Looking forward to a sale though. :^)
Customer avatar
Ben D November 30, 2019 1:15 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks! Check out the current Bundle of Holding.
Customer avatar
Franklin D November 30, 2019 3:01 am UTC
Do you have any plans to release this on Roll20? Or at least the character sheet or HTLM and CSS for it? I would be very interested in running this online. :D
Customer avatar
Ben D November 30, 2019 4:06 am UTC
PUBLISHER
No plans currently but we will look into that!
Customer avatar
Chad K November 28, 2019 7:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I would have loved to see a hardback option to go with my Vagabonds of Dyfed and Cyclopedia.(but its not a long book so I understand!) It would be great to see more race options (like Beastkin from Dyfed) or even new class/archetypes. Thanks again for another top notch professional Kickstarter. Communication during the project was great, regular updates, you deliver on time and what was promised. Sadly , that's a rarity on Kickstarter today. Im looking forward to future products. I just need to get a DriveThru print order together now!
Customer avatar
Ben D November 29, 2019 5:19 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Chad! Don’t forget to leave a review if you can.
Customer avatar
Chad K December 01, 2019 3:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Review up. Maybe a Deluxe edition in the future? :)
Customer avatar
Thomas K December 07, 2019 6:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
+1 on Hardback
Customer avatar
Thomas H November 28, 2019 5:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, I got this and I am loving it. I do have a question where can I get or see a character sheet filled out as an example. My players seem to struggle with it.
Customer avatar
Ben D November 28, 2019 6:08 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Thomas; sorry to hear. We don't have a pre-filled out one handy, but perhaps I can answer some of the questions or concerns your players are having. The key things to note are ability scores (and their modifiers), as well as any load-worthy items. Everything else is sort of use-as-necessary.
Customer avatar
Sebastian A November 26, 2019 7:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just bought the game and enjoying the layout. I have some questions regarding class and archetype features:
Warrior: Does counter-attack acts as opportunity attacks from 5e, where opponent has to move or cast a spell in order to trigger the attack? Also im a bit confused cause it is a quick action, so warrios counter-attack in their own turns?
Thief: At level 5 he gains "Use a quick action to halve one hit’s damage against you". Can it be made every turn? Does it needs a check? I think its a bit overpowered.
Cleric: They get Adv to healing, does that means that healing is a check against some DC?
Wizards: At level 9 they can choose to cast firefury (fireball) as a cantrip, that may be overpowered for an osr game.

Also some general questions:
Do actions that say "1/safe rest" mean that actions can only be made at safe rests? Or can they be made once after a safe rest, like a zealot healing in combat?
Do ability proficiencies from classes (like...See more
Customer avatar
Ben D November 26, 2019 8:13 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks for the support! Happy to answer below:

Warrior counter attack: the short version is "GM discretion." However, the way we intended it was "any time the warrior is attacked by an enemy and isn't knocked unconscious, they can counter-attack." So, orc attacks warrior (warrior HP is still 1+), warrior attacks orc back. The turn-order is based on when the warrior wants to burn the quick action or not, or as the fiction demands.

Thief: it can be made every turn, and it doesn't need to make a check. It is one of the major benefits of this class and is significantly less powerful than any spellcasting class. Basically it just says "thieves are harder to kill with traps and fireballs."

Cleric: if there ever is a check that pertains to healing, they get advantage to said check. That could be knowledge, that could be to figure out the cause or cure of an illness, that could be a spellcasting check to successfully cast the Suture spell, etc.
...See more
Customer avatar
Sebastian A December 01, 2019 4:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for clarifying. By your answers, is the thief feature supposed to work just for traps and spells? The book says it halves any incoming damage.
Also, while you say combat is not a focus of the rules, more than half of classes features are combat focused, so i think players are going to be encouraged to get into combat.
Customer avatar
Sebastian A November 21, 2019 10:15 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Looking forward to buying the printed book. How does the spell system works in this game? Can a lvl1 wizard cast only one spell in a day, like od&d?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 22, 2019 3:26 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The magic system is one of the things we’re most proud of. Mages (arcane) and zealots (divine) get three cantrips, which they can cast at will as many times a day as they wish, without making a check.

Any leveled spell (1 to 5) can be cast either as a spell (quick) or a rite (slow). A quick cast can be done in combat but requires a check. If you fail your check not only does the spell not work, but you trigger a magical mishap. If you cast it slowly as a rite, it takes one hour per spell level (so too slow for combat or dangerous dungeon scenes), but there’s no chance of failure and no check needed.

Neither of these types of casting are limited in any way, other than by the spells known. A level 1 mage would only know 1 level 1 spell, but it scales quite quickly. That level 1 mage could quickly cast that one spell 50 times in a day, so long as they kept making successful checks.
Customer avatar
Sebastian A November 24, 2019 1:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
Cool! So Intelligence is actually an useful stat. Another question, if I were to run Barrowmaze, should i use the OSR or the 5e version of the book?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 24, 2019 3:32 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I would suggest the OSR version as the 5e version is mostly inflated hit points and rules nuance. Have fun!
Customer avatar
Anthony B November 08, 2019 2:58 pm UTC
Have not bought yet but plan to.
Quick question: Do monsters from 5e stay the same or do they need to be converted? In other words, can I take monsters straight from the monster manual or do I have to adjust their abilities and skills?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 08, 2019 4:19 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
You can take them straight from the 5e MM, however we recommend (at least) reducing their HP by half, since especially casters deal less damage and combat is less forgiving for PCs.

There are also more detailed and comprehensive conversion / monster generation rules in the book (we're especially proud of the Monster Math table which allows a GM to quickly eyeball a monster of any HD and know its best modifiers, average modifiers, worst modifiers, HP, and average damage per round).
Customer avatar
Brian O November 03, 2019 4:42 am UTC
PURCHASER
Love the read of the game. I can't wait to do a West Marches style game with it!
A few questions about Resilience: When does it refresh? Eating? During Unsafe Rests? Can PC's lose it other ways than travel? Is it more something you check against or lose and gain? How have you used it in your games?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 03, 2019 1:27 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks!

Resilience is basically a catch all for stamina, so we recommend using it a lot to try to increase the hardship characters feel while adventuring. I tend to use it every travel turn, every time there’s a very difficult physical challenge, and any time they go without proper equipment or supplies for an environment (such as no winter clothes on the mountain).

It’s normally a pool that you lose and gain. Typically it restores to full with rest and food. Some GMs use food as a way to restore it to encourage tracking of rations and loss of SUP.

But basically any time you think “hey the party might be getting tired from this” knocking down their RES is a good idea (except for combat, as that’s the function of HP).
Customer avatar
Jay A November 01, 2019 7:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Does Five Torches Deep support multifaceted adventures (role playing, city/overland/other types) beyond the dungeon crawl? Or is this mainly aimed at classic style dungeon crawls? Could we use it for high-fantasy and similar styles?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 01, 2019 11:26 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Jay. Five Torches Deep supports "adventure fantasy" play as well as dungeon crawling, similar to most OSR systems. The core mechanic is very light (1d20 + modifier vs DC) and can be applied to just about any risky, uncertain situation with narrative consequences.

There are rules for social interactions (such as renown and the way NPCs react to the party) as well as overland play (overland and overwater travel, etc). I'd encourage you to watch the YouTube flip-through at the bottom of the product page description, or look up Adam Koebel's "First Look" video which is very comprehensive. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Peter S October 27, 2019 11:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
Love it. Hope to see new supplements for it in the future. Namely, a couple new races and classes could help. With 5 players you have to double up on at least one class and race, which isn't a big deal but it's not great.

Seriously, though, I love this. So many great ideas, too! The rubik's cube bit blew my mind.
Customer avatar
Ben D October 27, 2019 12:58 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Peter! Note that level 3 is where real character differentiation comes about. The minimal number of classes is rooted in old school play. That being said we are working on lots of new character options and supplements. Thanks again, and don’t forget to leave a review!
Customer avatar
Peter S October 28, 2019 12:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
New character options? Baby, tell me more! Playable orc race? Goblin? New subclasses? Support up to level 15? Any of the above?

Don't worry, I can take spoilers.
Customer avatar
Ben D October 28, 2019 1:44 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks for the review! We are working on more races, classes, magic, and subsystems. Follow us @fivetorchesdeep on twitter for the most frequent updates.
Customer avatar
Vernon F November 02, 2019 5:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
A book expanding the spell lists and a bestiary would be most appreciated.
Customer avatar
Sean T October 19, 2019 10:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have a quick question/clarification:

In the description of how each race rolls up ability scores, it says humans "swap up to two." Does this mean that a human character can switch two scores twice (for example, switching STR/INT and CON/WIS)? Or does it mean a human character can pick up to two ability scores and re-roll them?
Customer avatar
Ben D October 21, 2019 2:06 am UTC
PUBLISHER
You still only roll six times. Of the six ability scores rolled, you can make one swap. So if you rolled an 8 STR and a 14 INT, but wanted to play a warrior, you could swap those two to a 14 STR and an 8 INT.
Customer avatar
Sean T October 21, 2019 3:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions.
Customer avatar
SeungHan O October 18, 2019 3:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
A supply & load question:

Let's assume I am carrying healing kit (2 SUP) and weak Potion (3 SUP) and decided to carry 10 SUP. Do I carry 2 load (10 SUP) or 3 load (10 SUP + healing kit and weak potion which I have decided to carry)?
Customer avatar
Ben D October 18, 2019 12:52 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Supply is easiest to think of as a bunch of abstract packages. The packages have unknown contents, but they still exist and take up space (load). So you would have 3 load (1 from the kit and potion, 2 from the supply brought.)
Customer avatar
SeungHan O October 18, 2019 1:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you.
Customer avatar
Ian M December 02, 2019 8:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I had a similar question that this answer partially answers.

I'm not clear on how INT, SUP and load interact. Is INT a cap on SUP?
Customer avatar
Ian M December 09, 2019 12:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Never mind. One of my players pointed out that it says Max on the character sheet.
Customer avatar
Jesus B October 10, 2019 6:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Love the game. Fast, quick and easy. The only thing I miss is maybe a POD pocket size book, but it´s a personal preference.
Customer avatar
Ben D October 10, 2019 8:15 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Good feedback! We'll consider releasing a digest size book in POD, but that'd probably be farther down the road. Thanks for the support; don't forget to leave a rating if you haven't done so already :)
Customer avatar
Matt S October 10, 2019 3:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I run games for kids and young people, and they've all thoroughly enjoyed FTD. It's a great little thing, and while we've only used it for one-shots so far, we will be trying it for campaign play in the near future!
Customer avatar
Ben D October 10, 2019 3:47 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Matt, really glad to hear the gang is loving it! Don't forget to leave a rating / review if you can. Thanks again!
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